By Amir H. Idris (auth.)
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Extra info for Conflict and Politics of Identity in Sudan
Similarly, the castration of young males to prevent procreation with “noble” females, particularly married wives of the nobility, resembles the cruelty of New World slavery. Indeed, when the West was in the process of abolishing the institution of slavery, the Arab and African leaders, especially in the Central Sudan and northeast Africa, were increasing their own traffic in human beings on the premise that the Sharia, or the Islamic law, allowed the enslavement of non-Muslims. By 1888, when the last state, Brazil, abolished slavery, northeast Africa and the Central Sudan witnessed an increase in the number of slaves taken out of their communities by Arab traders and Islamicized local leaders to be sold in central African markets, in Egypt, the Middle East, and in the Ottoman Empire.
As a result, leaders of various nationalist movements often have internalized the colonially created identities instead of transcending them. These nationalist movements reaffirm the racial barriers, which caused the political violence in the first place. During the colonial era, nationalist movements in the Sudan were socially constructed, with distinct regional, ethnic, class, and gender orientations, while others groups were excluded. This situation reflected the nature of the social and political structure that was emerging during the colonial period and of the polarization of societies along competing racial identities and regional lines.
During the nineteenth century, the region of northeast Africa underwent profound economic, political, and social changes. The superpower of the region, the Ottoman Empire, was in a state of decline and disintegration. Both Britain and France struggled to take control of Egypt and the Red Sea. The first encounter between two Western powers occurred when France invaded Egypt in 1798. However, in 1801, France was forced to end its occupation of Egypt, and Mohammed Ali Pasha established his rule there.